Back, Neck & Shoulder Pain
Back pain affects up to 80% of us at some point in our lives. The NHS spends more than £1 billion per year on back pain related costs but even more is lost through workplace absence caused by excessive aches and pains. Back pain is one of the most common things that we see every day. Some back pain resolves quickly by itself but if it persists for more than a few days, then an Osteopath may be able to help you to understand what you have done, and what you can do to help yourself get better, as well as provide some hands-on manual therapy to assist further.
Neck pain is very common in people of all ages and it is common for one or both shoulders to also be involved, as well as the upper back. It can be very exhausting to suffer with neck pain, which can be caused by many different things including muscle tension, stiff joints, sleeping awkwardly, stress, or simply too much time sitting at your desk or driving. We live in an age now where we sit too much, at our desks, in our cars, and at home in front of the television. We spend a lot of time looking down at mobile phones and tablets, which we simply didn't do only a decade or two ago.
Your spine is made of solid, bony blocks reinforced by strong ligaments and muscles. It is surprisingly difficult to damage the spine but if strained, the surrounding muscles and ligaments can cause a lot of discomfort and pain.
More serious back and neck pain can be caused by problems with the discs which sit between our vertebrae. If damaged, these can cause nerve pain, pins & needles, numbness or tingling into your arms or legs, or a loss of strength and power in your arms and legs.
Some headaches can be the result of tension or stiffness in the neck and upper back. Natural age-related wear and tear (osteoarthritis), does not necessarily lead to neck discomfort, however coupled with other factors, it can lead to muscular pain from the neck into the shoulder as well as some stiffness in moving the neck.
Shoulder pain can be related to upper back and neck problems, or it can occur as the result of a specific injury. For more information on shoulder pain an injuries, click here.
Osteopathy is a safe and effective form of assessment, diagnosis, treatment and rehabilitation.
Osteopaths use hands-on techniques together with exercise prescription and further advice designed to promote and maintain the best environment for a healthy back such as sitting, lifting, driving position and posture.
The UK National Institute of Health and Care Excellence (NICE) provides guidance for health services that recommend manual therapy, such as that provided by osteopaths, as part of a package of care for the management of low back pain and sciatica. Research shows that Osteopathic treatment can have beneficial effects, especially for back pain.
Osteopathic treatment is based on the individual needs of the patient and will vary depending on age, fitness and diagnosis but generally focuses on releasing tension, stretching muscles and improving mobility – all of which may help relieve pain. We sometimes use joint manipulation techniques as well.
There is no need to consult a GP before visiting an Osteopath, although you may wish to do so.
Early diagnosis and treatment can aid your recovery and get you back to normal activities more quickly. Around half of those who suffer an episode of back pain will have a recurrence of symptoms within a few years. Our aim is to not only get you back to health and be the best you can be, but to also do all we can to help you prevent further recurrence of your problem.
REMEMBER: Back and neck pain is rarely due to any serious disease and the long-term outlook is good.
ref: the institute of osteopathy 2020